Food For Thought with Becky Cotter...
The dark nights and cold mornings of autumn are made better by the delicious range of comforting and warming vegetables and fruits that have come into season.
Eating seasonally is a great way to reduce your food bills whilst supporting local farms. British produce that is in abundance for that season (such as root vegetables in the winter or strawberries in the summer) will be a lot cheaper than imported goods.
They will be more readily available and they will also be better quality having matured naturally rather than artificially out of season.
The big seasonal favourite that you simply can’t miss in the shops and local market at the moment is the almighty pumpkin.
The most popular reason for buying a pumpkin at this time of year is for Hallowe’en decorations. Events such as the Freaky Fortnight at Mead Open Farm, or Boo at the Zoo at Whipsnade, include pumpkin carving which is a fun creative activity for kids without making lots of mess at home.
If buying a pumpkin for home then there are some great things you can do to use it to its full potential before carving a spooky face on it.
Slice the top off and scoop out all of those pearly delicious seeds, clean up and season with salt, pepper and paprika then roast them in a low oven for 10-15 minutes. These are great to snack on or add to salads to boost the nutritional value.
Scoop out as much of the flesh as you can without damaging the sides and stir into a soup or turn into a delicious pumpkin pie!
Chop it and add to mac and cheese or puree and serve with some roast beef and parsnips.
Did you know pumpkin is widely used in sweet recipes too? Why not use some pureed pumpkin in a cinnamon, pumpkin and vanilla ice cream smoothie?
By using the whole pumpkin you can help prevent food waste, save money and enjoy some edible goodies alongside your spooky project. Just be sure to leave enough of a border to support the carved pumpkin!
Becky lives in Leighton and writes a food blog called Veghotpot (www.veghotpot.wordpress.com)